How many bottles of whiskey a week = 'being an alcoholic'?

(31 Posts)
JESSnutsRoastinOnAnOpenFire Mon 21-Nov-05 13:27:00

Or is it not that easy to categorise?

Opinions please.. concerned about my dad.

SJ x

OP’s posts: |
WigWamBam Mon 21-Nov-05 13:30:47

It you're really talking in number of bottles rather than number of glasses then alcoholism is a possibility.

How much is he drinking? Is he able (or willing) to go for any length of time without a drink?

NomDePlume Mon 21-Nov-05 13:32:49

IMO, a normal bigger sized (ie not miniature) bottle of whiskey should last about a month, a smaller one (not miniature but the ones that are kind of square/flat), I would say a week.

NotQuiteCockney Mon 21-Nov-05 13:33:29

There isn't a magical number. I guess if someone is having much over the recommended number of units per week, I'd be worried about the health impact - but that wouldn't make someone necessarily an alcoholic, they could just be a university student.

Being an alcoholic is more to do with his attitude to alcohol. Can he go without? Does every social occassion involve booze? Does he have weird rules about alcohol (no booze before 3pm etc) - these are often the sign of someone trying to manage their alcoholic consumption.

NomDePlume Mon 21-Nov-05 13:33:39

Not that anyone in my house drinks whisky ! Spirits are (or should be) drunk in such small measures that a bottle should last quite a while.

helsi Mon 21-Nov-05 13:34:25

it doesn't matter about the amount of bottles it is the dependancy etc. My dad is one so if you want to chat then CAT me.

piffle Mon 21-Nov-05 13:34:39

Whisky is a pretty serious drink, to be getting through more than half a bottle a week (and that would be a lot) would be cause for conern I would say
It's also a depressive drink.


Twiglett Mon 21-Nov-05 13:34:46

a nightcap a night is fine

a couple of drinks a night is too much


CountessDracula Mon 21-Nov-05 13:35:35

There are about 30 units in a bottle I think, the upper limit for men is about 28 a week.

I agree it is more about how you cope with it. Does he only drink whisky? Does he undergo a change in personality when he drinks?

CountessDracula Mon 21-Nov-05 13:38:39

A colleague of mine admitted the other day that he drinks more than 100 units a week

gomez Mon 21-Nov-05 13:40:04

750 ml per bottle = 30 units = roughly the weekly limit for an adult male. An alcoholic is more defined by their drinking behaviours I would suggest than the absolute amount they drink. Does he drink quote openly? Every day? Can he go without? Does he ever not drink - i.e. be the nominated driver etc.

Why are you worried?

gomez Mon 21-Nov-05 13:41:20

Sorry x-post with CD.

Firefox Mon 21-Nov-05 13:43:46

My MIL drinks 2-3 bottles a week
Everyone in the family - including her DH knows about it, however, she doesn't believe she has a problem even though she has to drink every night

Caligula Mon 21-Nov-05 13:43:54

When the person drinking it can't do without it.

JESSnutsRoastinOnAnOpenFire Mon 21-Nov-05 13:48:05

He drinks at least 2 bottles a week WWB.. he would like to drink more but is pretty much housebound now due to his disabilies.

He puts some in his coffee in the morning (!) and has a 'wee dram' (not sure it's that wee!) in the evenings - but swigs this out of the bottle so it's negotiable as to how much he has..

We are able to pretty much monitor the situation as he can't get out to get it himself. He has 2 carers call a day to prepare lunch and tea and one who shops for him. She buys him 2 bottles a week with his shopping and there was a bit of fuss and bother some months ago when he said this was not enough so they rang me to tell me they are not really supposed to buy any so any more they really can't buy! Until that time I was not aware he was having any more than 1 bottle per week! So told them no, deifnitely don't buy 3!

His disability means he is very unsteady on his feet. He also takes medication in the morning. He is very prone to falling (not due to alcohol.. this has always been the case but more so as he has got older/frailer) but lately he has taken quite a few tumbles which can be quite dramatic as he is 6 foot and can't get back up again without help! His is 74 and definitely not 'losing it' (please excuse the expression!) but when he falls he is generally disorintated and can't remember how it happened. I thought this was shock.. but lately it dawned on me (belatedly!) that it is probably a combination of the strongish pain killers he was taken and the whiskey in the coffee as all of these tumbles have been around that time of the morning.

The GP has made him agree to not take the painkillers, or at least if he does, only paracetamol. (Others were Co-dydramol!!)

He gets quite down and fed up and said that if 'people' (that'll me!) are going to stop him 'having a drink' then he 'might as well be 6 foot under' SIGH! He has prostate cancer which is being watched, not treated, as it is considered to be very slow growing. He does not seem to be that concerned about that anymore but obviously I realise it must play on his mind.

On Saturday am he fell.. I was nearby and rushed round and he had fallen in his coffee table and broken it. Me and DS (13) got him to his feet, and as I was clearing away the bits of table for DH to fix at home I found another whiskey bottle hidden in a carrier bag. He seemed amused that I had found it and said' Ah! See.. I have my contacts..' to which I said 'well it can only be me or DH! It's not me.. are you saying it's DH?' He said 'If it was I wouldn't tell you.. I wouldn't want to drop him in it!'

DH swears it isn't him but said he and my dad were the only two people who knew that the other bottle was under there.. and that dad is not getting 'an extra bottle' it's just one of the 2 his gets weekly, a circulates so he doesn't have to get up in the evening when he has his 'wee dram'.

Don't think he was trying to cause trouble exactly but was probably enjoying have 'one up' (with DH) over me and the carers as he hates being told how much to drink.

I am inclined to let him get on with it.. I know he is not getting much fun out of life now really.

Sorry for the epic.. but do you think he is an alcoholic and should I be doing something about this?

SJ x

OP’s posts: |
JESSnutsRoastinOnAnOpenFire Mon 21-Nov-05 13:48:37

Crikey.. this thread grew while I was typing my epic!

OP’s posts: |
JESSnutsRoastinOnAnOpenFire Mon 21-Nov-05 13:50:14

LOL can you all post again now once you have read my other info! (sorry!) [blush)

OP’s posts: |
WigWamBam Mon 21-Nov-05 13:54:46

Hiding the drink would be ringing alarm bells for me ... my sister is an alcoholic, her behaviour is pretty typical, and one of the things she does is to hide her drink.

It sounds to me as if he has some sort of dependance on alcohol.

helsi Mon 21-Nov-05 13:55:21

ditto - my dad hides his drink too.

Carmenere Mon 21-Nov-05 13:55:25

It's a tough one -it's like he would like to be allowed to be an alcoholic. Can you get him to equate falling over with the alcohol? does he realise that he could seriously hurt himself?
Part of me says let him drink as much as he wants but then it is really about the quality of the rest of his life. And of course the impact his excessive drinking will have on his carers. Can you explain to him that as you are caring for him you would prefer that he was compus mentus for as long as possible?

JESSnutsRoastinOnAnOpenFire Mon 21-Nov-05 13:58:47

I just don't think he see himself as anything like an alcoholic.. more like an 'alcohol appreciater'! His family are all 'alcohol appreciators' and some of them landlords etc.. and he has always enjoyed a drink to some extent - although not for much of my childhood as we were too poor for him to afford it!

He says it is his only pleasure now. (He gave up pipe smoking some years ago thank God.)

I suppose my real question is should I be at least trying to make him drink less? That is scary about the units!!

OP’s posts: |
noddyholder Mon 21-Nov-05 13:59:08

Alcoholism is nothing to do with the amount and more with the effect the drinking is having on the person's life.If drinking is a consideration or a problem then it needs to be addressed.

WigWamBam Mon 21-Nov-05 14:08:11

I can understand him taking pleasure from a drink and not wanting to be denied it, but if drinking too much is having an effect on him, his carers and his family then his pleasure is outweighed by the potential pain it could cause.

If he were a younger man I'd say that he needed to get help for his drinking but it's difficult to deny an older man something that he has been having (relying on?) all his life and that he sees as his only pleasure.

I think you probably have to accept that he isn't going to stop drinking, but that doesn't mean you can't try to control the amount of alcohol that he has access to. You'd need the support of his carers and the rest of the family though.

serenity Mon 21-Nov-05 14:16:56

I don't think that there is anything you can do about it. Only the person drinking can decide that they have a problem and need help, you can't make them. My FIL was an alcoholic (although very few people would admit it - it would p me off that people would bring him bottles of whiskey as presents when they knew he had a problem) He found it impossible to have an open bottle of whiskey in the house, he had to finish it, unless he fell asleep before he got that far! Anyway, we worried about his drinking and smoking, and were convinced that he'd kill himself falling down the stairs or whatever. Then he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. He gave up smoking and cut down his drinking for about 6 months, and then I think he realised it didn't make any difference and he went back to normal. I spoke to his consultant about our concerns with mixing his pain killers and drink, and he was to some degree unconcerned - basically it would make him sleepy, but he felt that it was a benefit to him as a coping stratagem and not worth dealing with (so don't worry about the drink, the cancer will get him first )

The reason I mention this is perhaps this is how your Dad is dealing with his Cancer? My FIL never said he was scared and worried, but his actions show he was. Is your Dads cancer curable? Is it possible that he thinks 'this is it' and drinking is the only relief he has?

I think you need to tread carefully. Weigh up whether trying to intervene and possibly straining your relationship with your Dad is going to be worth it in the long run. Good luck and I really feel for you in this.

crunchie Mon 21-Nov-05 14:38:00

Jess I would suggest you let him drink himself to death. Sorry if that sounds blunt, but you will be unable to stop him anyway. Until he wants to stop he will continue to drink. I would be there for him as much as you can, but the person who is stressing/hurting here is you, and you can't do anything about it.

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